Transcript: Best Practices When Managing a Hybrid Team
[Leaders can consider how to help teams and individuals succeed as the Government of Canada transitions to hybrid work.]
Best Practice #1 : Connection between the manager and their team members
Continuing to foster connection with team members is key to your success in managing a hybrid team.
In a hybrid environment, different strategies and techniques can help each other connect. Establish the best times and places for different types of conversations to take place. For example:
- Performance agreements
- Bi-lateral meetings
- Assigning taskings, etc.
[Text on screen - Seeking clarity and information, In-formal chats and teams channels]
During hybrid meetings whether in-person or virtual, turn on your video, make yourself visible and encourage your virtual and in-person team members to do so as well. Being able to see reactions and body language enhances the feeling that you're all working on the same team and connecting on a deeper level regardless of the work location.
Find an appropriate way to establish a bi-directional relationship with your team members. It is important that they be engaged and heard.
[Text on screen - What are they dealing with day to day? What's working well and what's frustrating them? What kind of obstacles are they encountering?]
In a hybrid workplace, proactively orchestrate opportunities to develop meaningful connections. Be mindful that not everything can be done equally online or in person. In-person informal chats can happen organically when running into someone in the hallway whereas in a virtual environment, sharing beyond operational meetings may require some planning.
Best Practice #2: Set clear expectations
Managing team members both inside and outside the office will require some trial and error to find the best mix for your team.
As a manager, you must equally consider the needs of both in-person and remote team members. An example of this is establishing clear expectations that benefit all team members, regardless of where they may be working from on any given day.
It is good practice for the entire team to agree to norms for both in-person and virtual work. Some mutually agreed upon norms could be:
- Implementing meeting-free day for focused work
- Core working hours where everyone is available for real-time collaboration
- Booking shorter meetings of 25 or 55 mins
- No back-to-back meetings to allow for breaks, reflection and time to get from one meeting to the next especially if attending in person.
Another great way to set clear expectations in a hybrid environment is to establish a Team Charter. A Team Charter is a document co-developed by team members and management. It establishes a shared understanding of how the team can work most effectively together, and brings clarity to team direction, roles and responsibilities.
Check out the School resources on team charters in our learning catalogue.
Best Practice #3: Establish effective communication
Being intentional and purposeful about communication is vital when managing a hybrid team in order to avoid too many meetings, emails, and messages which can be overwhelming or overlooked when working in a hybrid environment.
Determine which modes of communication are best for certain situations. If a message is long or nuanced, pick up the phone if you and your team member are virtual or drop by their workstation in person as it allows for immediate clarification.
Be inclusive. It is key to include all team members in your communications whether they are virtual or in person. This is to ensure that everyone has equal access to information and an opportunity to weigh in.
Establish a team protocol on hybrid meetings. Consider inviting virtual team members to speak first by raising their hands so they feel included and actively participating in communications.
Best Practice 4: Utilize Tools and Technology
Tech issues are a key challenge to the success of working in a hybrid environment. Understanding your departments or agencies' technological capabilities and access to various tools are crucial to providing team members a seamless hybrid workplace experience.
One tool won't be able to meet all your team's needs. As a manager, it's important to carefully consider your work objectives and structure to determine what technology and tools could be used to optimize your team's collaboration, communication and productivity both in-person and virtually. Work closely with your IT team to find out what tools are at your disposal and are accessible. Consider features such as collaborative work on draft documents, shared repositories for final or official documents, interactive online meetings and more.
[Text on screen - Screen sharing, chat, whiteboard, calendar sharing, voting.]
As the future of work evolves, conduct regular Pulse Surveys to gather, discuss, and work to implement team member feedback on tasks, level of engagement, and the overall work environment where you can. Follow-up regularly.
Best Practice #5: Support your team members
One of the most important responsibilities as a manager is to support your team. Pay attention to how members of your team are feeling both in-person and virtually and have conversations with them when needed and where appropriate. As a manager, lead with empathy and respect. Try and be open and flexible to alternate work arrangements and schedules when possible.
Use anchor days where the majority of the team are in the office together to celebrate achievements, milestones and special occasions to keep team members motivated, engaged and valued. If team members cannot be in-person, include them virtually so that all team members can come together and celebrate wins.
The things we're all feeling now are part of a normal process. It may take you time. That's okay.
Find a way to get team members together in a social setting from time to time whether that be virtually, in person or a mix of both. A team lunch or online team building games can do wonders for morale and shows you really care about your team members as people. Always remember it is crucial to include all team members in these types of social activities whether they are virtual or in-person.
The hybrid model can provide managers an opportunity to experiment and try new ways of working. These hybrid best practices aim to help you build a workplace that is inclusive, productive and collaborative where your team members can thrive and be happy.
We encourage you to check out the Schools resources on Hybrid in our learning catalogue.
[The CSPS logo appears onscreen. A text appears on the screen: canada.ca/school. The Government of Canada logo appears onscreen.]